29 June 2020

1) Microsoft is permanently closing almost all of its stores across the nation and world. Just like other retail outlets, Microsoft had to shutter all its stores due to the coronavirus pandemic. There are 83 stores worldwide of which 72 are in the U.S., however only four will remain open in the world. The stores allowed people to try out software and hardware offered by Microsoft including laptop computers. No news if there will be any layoffs or how many, the stores are moving to the digital realm, which will absorb many of the store employees. The physical stores generated negligible retail revenue for Microsoft.

2) As oil prices reach the magic $40 a barrel, shale fracking is starting to reawaken to pump oil. The number of fracking crews had bottomed out at 45 last month, but is now back up to 78 this last week. There had been roughly 400 fracking crews before the decline in oil prices started. The drilling of new oil wells remains on hold with a 70% slump, making for the lowest number of active drilling rigs since 2011.

3) Nike is warning its employees of coming layoffs, but these layoffs will not effect store employees. The layoffs are expected to come in two waves, the first this July followed in the fall with a the second wave. These layoffs come amid reports of poor earnings, with sales down 38% giving a net loss of $790 million dollars when the Convid-19 virus forced closing of most of its stores. This compares with nearly a billion dollars in earnings for the same time last year. Nike has 76,700 employees, but it’s not know yet how many will lose their jobs. All wasn’t bad for Nike, with their online sales skyrocketing 75%, with e-sales accounting for 30% of Nike’s total business.

4) Stock market closings for – 26 JUN 20:

Dow 25,015.55 down 730.05
Nasdaq 9,757.22 down 259.78
S&P 500 3,009.05 down 74.71

10 Year Yield: down at 0.64%

Oil: down at $38.16

16 March 2020

1) Bill Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft is stepping down from the company’s board of directors, which makes it the biggest boardroom departure in the tech industry, since the death of Apple’s Steve Jobs. Additionally, Mr. Gates is vacating his board seat at Berkshire Hathaway Inc., intending to devote his time to his philanthropic efforts. He will continue serving as a technical advisor to Microsoft.

2) Oil prices climbed up 5% on the announcement by President Trump that the Department of Energy would purchase crude for the nations’ strategic petroleum reserve. The objective is to boost oil prices to keep shale producers in business, because oil needs to be $40 or more a barrel to break even, depending on the particulars of an oil field. The shale oil companies are further in trouble because they are carrying a high debt level. Shale oil production is very capital intensive and therefore very sensitive to oil prices if companies aren’t to go bankrupt. Some suggest that the Russians engineered the rupture of the Saudi Arabia – Russian agreement to limit production levels as a means to cripple the U.S. shale oil production and thereby make America dependent on foreign oil again.

3) President Trump and the Congress have agreed on several provisions of a package, but have been far apart on others. Their discussions center on ways to minimize the economic impact of the coronavirus fears. One point is to ensure that every American can receive a virus test without consideration of money.

4) Stock market closings for – 13 MAR 20:

Dow 23,185.62 up 1985.00
Nasdaq 7,874.88 up 673.07
S&P 500 2,711.02 up 230.38
10 Year Yield: up at 0.95%
Oil: up at $32.93

8 November 2019

1) Bill Gates, the Microsoft co-founder, says he’s happy to pay his share of taxes, but expressed consternation over Elizabeth Warren’s proposals to tax America’s wealthy. He considers the presidential hopeful is not very open minded to consider his concerns. Warren’s wealth tax proposal is 2% annual levy on household wealth above $50 million dollars with an additional 1% tax on wealth above $1 billion dollars. She estimates this would cover 75,000 tax payers raising $2.6 to $2.75 trillion dollars over a ten years.

2) Stores are starting their Black Friday sales earlier this year, in part because the holiday shopping season is six days shorter. Retailer Target will begin online Black Friday sale on Thanksgiving morning, with stores opening their doors at 5 p.m. and remaining open through 1 a.m. the next day. On Black Friday, their stores open at 7 a.m.. Other retailers such as Walmart started their holiday shopping season last October.

3) Xerox is offering HP a takeover bid of $22 per share. The bid consists of 77% cash and 23% stock which would be $17 in cash and 0.137 Xerox shares for each HP share. If accepted, the deal would generate about $2 billion dollars in cost synergies with HP stock holders owning 48% of the company. HP has announced job cuts between 7,000 and 9,000 by the end of fiscal 2022. HP is worth $29 billion dollars and is more than three times the size of Xerox in terms of market cap.

4) Stock market closings for – 7 NOV 19:

Dow                 27,674.80    up    182.24
Nasdaq              8,434.52    up      23.89
S&P 500             3,085.18    up        8.40

10 Year Yield:    up   at    1.93%

Oil:    up   at    $57.07

19 July 2019

1) The video streaming service Netflix has lost customers for the first time in eight years while also missing its target for new subscriptions overseas. The lost of 130,000 customers from April to June resulting in a 10.3% drop in its stock. Netflix confessed that its new TV shows for this quarter were not as appealing as expected and price increases in some markets has slowed their growth.

2) The software giant Microsoft beat analysts estimates for fourth quarter revenue and profit, primary because of its flagship cloud products Azure and Office software. Microsoft has tapped into the booming demand for cloud based services, pushing its capitalization to about $1.05 trillion dollars. Microsoft’s net income rose to $13.19 billion dollars in the quarter ending on June, up from $8.87 billion dollars.

3) The Democrats have pass legislation to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour. The raises will be over a six year span from the present $7.25 hour, and will be halted if a study shows job losses or other adverse effects. The increase in labor cost will most likely spur development of automation technologies to reduce the need for people in company’s labor force. The bill still has to be voted on and passed by the Senate before it can go to the President for signing.

4) Stock market closings for – 18 JUL 19:

Dow             27,222.97    up      3.12
Nasdaq          8,207.24    up    22.04
S&P 500         2,995.11    up    10.69

10 Year Yield:    down   at    2.04%

Oil:    up   at    $55.78

18 July 2019

1) News for budding entrepreneurs. Each year, roughly 30,000 new consumer products are introduced to the market place, but 95% of them fail. The primary reason for failure is lack of preparation, of not understanding the ‘product life cycle’. The life cycle is the time from inception to obsolescence the product experiences. As a product goes through its life cycle, the sales and profit margins will fluctuate, so you must adjust your marketing mix accordingly. The subject is complex and extensive, and a new entrepreneur should spend time researching and understanding the topic before investing in a new product venture.

2) AT&T and Microsoft announced they have agreed on a cloud deal worth more than $2 billion dollars. AT&T will use Microsoft’s Azure cloud service for its computing needs and Office 365 software for its 268,000 people. Additionally, the two companies will work together on edge computing with Microsoft technology deployed alongside AT&T’s up coming 5G network and applications requiring extremely small delays in passing data back and forth such as real time control systems applications.

3) The debt of America is about to hit a record high, a result of cheap money and soaring debt, which has fueled the decade long economic expansion and bull market. There are raising fears of what could happen if there is a shift in the fragile economic balance. The total American debt, both public and private amounts to nearly $70 trillion dollars, with the economy about $21 trillion dollars in size. Difficulties could arise if America should experience a recession with both government and private sectors having trouble meeting their repayments.

4) Stock market closings for – 17 JUL 19: Disappointing quarterly reports pulled the markets down.

Dow                   27,219.85    down    115.78
Nasdaq                8,185.21    down      37.59
S&P 500               2,984.42    down      19.62

10 Year Yield:    down   at    2.06%

Oil:    down   at    $56.58

AMAZON CEO (JEFF BEZOS) BECOMES RICHEST MAN IN THE WORLD FOR HALF A DAY….

By: Economic & Finance Report

On Thursday July 27, 2017, Amazon head honcho/founder and CEO, Mr. Jeff Bezos surpassed Microsoft founder Bill Gates, as the richest person in the world, he toppled Mr. Gates with an estimated net worth of $90 billion.

Later on Thursday July 27, 2017 Amazon stocks missed quarterly (Q2) estimates, Bezos net worth declined to $85.9 billion making him #2 richest person (After Bill Gates), thus allowing Bill Gates to reclaim his “richest person mantle” again.

Mr. Bezos and Amazon have had a productive year so far, having purchased Whole Foods, a middle eastern online retail giant Souq.com, and a host of other investments; such as the expansion of warehouses, streaming/content services, as well as marketing and promoting in house products such as the Echo Fire Stick. The Amazon brand remains a strong brand and even a more competitive household name. Successful contributions by an even more accomplished man.

-SB

FORMER MICROSOFT CEO… INVESTS 4% STAKE IN TWITTER…$800 MILLION STAKE….

Steve Ballmer pic

By: Economic & Finance Report

Former Microsoft executive CEO and current Los Angeles Clippers NBA team owner, Steve Ballmer has invested in social media giant,  Twitter #TWTR… His 4% stake is valued around $800 million, and leads him to be the #3 individual stakeholder in the company, overtaking more stake in the company then Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey.

With the announcement, Twitter’s stock rose over 5% on Friday, @ $31.34 by the closing stock bell. Mr. Ballmer net worth is over $21 billion dollars in 2015, making him the 35th richest person in the world. Twitter has indicated recently that it will be laying off employees; somewhere around 8-10% of their workforce will be downsizing. -SB